2020 has been a landmark year for all the wrong reasons and has brought never seen like challenges to the fore. One of the most hit functions in life sciences organizations has been the Sales Operations group. They are constantly working towards better understanding the commercial impact of the pandemic on the organization. The need of the hour is drawing insights from unstructured and unorganized information to improve the overall ROI and efficacy of sales & marketing spend. In addition, they are constantly striving to keep their salesforces engaged and motivated during their trying times by adjusting their sales incentive plans to minimize the impact on the financials for sales personnel.
In this context, we held discussions with several commercial leaders from the life sciences industry & learned about different approaches these organizations are adopting to adjust their IC plans. The primary struggle highlighted across the board was the inability of their existing incentive compensation systems to deal with the localized changes easily due to inflexibility & rigidity.
The inability of incumbent solutions to simulate desired plan changes leads to increased use of external vendors for plan modelling/analysis. The modus operandi in such cases is to externally calculate rule-based payment adjustments, which are then applied manually to the system. Few of the leaders cited the introduction of newer types of qualitative plans requiring a change to existing data structures to calculate and report sales incentives. While few have managed to do it somehow in their existing systems, the majority have not. This employs stop-gap patches leading to increased complexity & manual interventions in the existing system resulting in more payment errors and delays in payroll. This automatically increases disputes, directly impacting salespeople’s engagement & motivation. A common theme that arose across all the leaders we spoke to focused on the increase in change management instances with longer turnaround times and more investment in terms of budget & bandwidth of key client personnel. The second theme inclined more toward the risk associated with process compliance and auditing gaps due to a significant increases in manual interventions and desired adjustments to prepare the system before calculating targets and incentives.
The challenges discussed above, while highlighted by the pandemic, have been ubiquitous for a very long due to a lack of innovation in the incentive solution ecosystem. Most organizations have learned to live with them and internalized such delays and inefficiencies. Have you imagined processing end-to-end incentives in less than an hour? Have you contemplated implementing a new plan for your salesforce in less than a day? Organizations need to change their outlook from being accommodative and managing daily firefights and be more demanding about their real needs. They need to focus on being more experimental and agile while delivering strategic and actionable insights to relevant stakeholders. Dream big. Technology ecosystems and interfaces have evolved significantly over the last decade. It is time to catch up.
Incumbent solutions are architected to maintain your heavy reliance on their consulting organizations for change management and ongoing processing. Lack of scalability and transparency in infrastructure and related fees is resulting in overages, even with small spikes in processing data and storage volumes. These factors are contributing to an increase in the overall cost of ownership of your incentives program.
Imagine a solution that allows you to be self-sufficient, and maintain a lean team while improving the transparency and engagement of your salesforce. You need a solution that features:
1. built-in IC intelligence
2. an intuitive business workflow specifically for the life sciences industry
3. enables end-to-end process automation
4. allows you to manage ongoing operations with the click of a button
5. a comprehensive quality assurance framework
6. integrated operational workflows like disputes and payment approvals
7. out-of-the-box multi-device capable reports and dashboards
8. plan simulation and comparisons
9. internationalization of reports
Organizations can now step it up and bring delight and enable the usage of incentive compensation as a strategic lever. The time has also come to provide the salesforce with timely, actionable insights to help them focus on improving the topline while alleviating the constant fear of incorrect incentive payouts. In such unprecedented times, the organization faces several challenges that need to be addressed. Incentives management, however, doesn’t need to be one of them.
Are you constantly facing any of the above challenges? If the answer is yes, then let’s talk. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com to talk about your current challenges and bounce off any ideas with no strings attached.